MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – Would you like to be a part of Middlesex County history? The Cornelius Low House Museum in Piscataway is currently planning an exciting new exhibit that will explore life in the Garden State during the postwar era. To make it a truly local experience, Middlesex County’s Office of Arts and History is asking residents to submit their own artifacts and antiques for display. Give your family the chance to tell their part of our County’s story!
The museum is looking for objects representing the period between the end of WW II (1945) and the Kennedy assassination (1963). Preference will be given to those artifacts with links to New Jersey and especially to Middlesex County.
Topics covered will include:
- The return of GIs from the war; the “GI Bill”
- The development of the suburbs
- The rise of supermarkets and processed food
- The role of new appliances and “labor‐saving” devices
- The popularity of diners and fast‐food
- Proliferation of televisions and their impact on American home life
- Cold War and civil defense
- The rise of ‘car culture;’ popularity of auto racing; development of the Interstate highway system, including Route 287, Route 95 (NJ Turnpike)
- Period architecture and furnishings; for example, motels of The Wildwoods
- Popularity of rock ’n’ roll; “Rock Around the Clock” debut in Wildwood
- Popularity of drive‐in movie theaters
- Mid-century toys and games; wind‐up tin toys; space and atomic-themed toys
- Civil Rights topics: “White flight”; women’s rights; segregation in restaurants and other public places; school desegregation; Levittown; LGBTQ rights (“lavender scare”)
Additionally, we are planning on creating a mock‐up of a representative mid-century living room. We are looking for the following items to make the room authentic:
- Furniture (sofa, coffee table, end tables, chair)
- Curtains and carpet
- Pictures/paintings for the walls
- Radio, television
- Magazines, newspapers, records, toys, knickknacks, and other ephemera that one might find in a typical family living room of the 1950s.
If you have objects you would like to loan, please contact Katie Zavoski, Senior Curator, at 732-745-4177 or email photographs of the items to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reach out to museum staff before dropping anything off at the museum, located at 1225 River Road in Piscataway.
The Office of Arts and History will be making final selections by the end of October 2018 and will collect all items by Feb. 15, 2019. Items can be picked up by County employees, but please make sure you pack them securely. All items will be insured, a conditions report will be prepared, and they will be returned to their owners in July 2020. The museum is climate‐controlled and has appropriate security and fire prevention. If you have any further questions or suggestions, please let the museum know.
“If you want to add your voice to this exhibit, I encourage you to reach out to our museum staff to see how your period clothing, furniture and other items can help explain the part our State played during this time in history,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the County’s Business Development Committee.
“2018’s museum exhibit on World War I was a great success, and our residents made some outstanding contributions,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “I hope this new exploration into local history will receive even more artifacts to help us tell the story of Middlesex County.”
For more information on this and other arts and history programming, visit the County website at www.middlesexcountynj.gov or call (732) 745-3030 or text CULTURE to 56512.